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"Make a Living Writing is the only blog I read religiously. It's always on top of the news and advice writers need RIGHT NOW to earn more from their writing." —Linda Formichelli, The Renegade Writer

My 23 Best Types of Blog Posts That Grab Attention

Young shocked womanMost bloggers write about whatever’s on their minds that day. If you’ve tried that, you’ve probably noticed it isn’t very effective in growing your blog audience.

To build your blog into a serious business (or just a great writing sample for getting freelance gigs), you’ll need to change your approach.

It’s also essential to know the popular post types if you’re blogging for paying clients and want the project to be successful, so that they keep paying you to blog for them. More and more clients want to at least partly base pay on traffic, so better results will grow your writing income. And of course, more readers on your blog gives you more chance to get hired or to sell readers your products.

Below are a compendium of my most successful types of blog posts that grab attention and get you more readers, shares, and comments. This list combines the most popular post types I’ve used on this blog, and the types that I’ve used to drive a total of 2 million pageviews on my Forbes blog, posting only 3-4 times per month, over the past 2 years. I’ve also thrown in a few great formats I haven’t used yet as well (but hope to soon!).

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How I Found a Steady Stream of Writing Clients in 9 Months Flat

3d White currency symbol diceI’d freelanced off and on for years. But every time I got close to plunging into it full time, I got scared. I pulled back for the security of a paycheck.

Then, about a year and a half ago, I knew it was time to go for the life and career I’d always dreamed of.

Within 9 months, I built up a steady stream of regular writing clients — three online magazines, two regional publications, and one B2B company — including Sparkle, RENO magazine, House of Gems, and the Jewellery Editor.

I continue to contribute to these publications, anywhere from once a week to once a quarter.

Among them, I average between $1,200 and $1,600 a month, which I supplement with online teaching and workshops. I also generally have at least a couple one-shot pieces to write each month, too.

I’m able to avoid the feast-or-famine cycle that kept me from going full-time long ago. Here’s how I did it:
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So, What Exactly Does a Successful Freelance Writer DO?

Clueless freelance writerBeing a freelance writer sounds like a dream lifestyle to many people.

They think about the upside — “Yeah, working in my PJs, keeping my own hours, and not having a boss. Awesome!”

But most of the people I know who’re focused on those three things end up washing out as freelancers. They never take it seriously, don’t learn about how to run a business, and don’t take the steps needed to get their business going.

Soon, they’re broke and heading back to the day job world.

It takes a lot of work to be a successful freelance writer. And many people don’t even know what work is required.

Those of us who’ve been at this for (cough) decades tend to forget how boggling it can be, when you’ve been an employee all your life, to launch your own solo freelance biz.

Take this aspiring freelance writer, who recently wrote me:

“Basically, I don’t know anything about freelance writing. So, I guess I´d like to learn the basics. What does a freelance writer actually do?

“I know, write. But what about and who for, you know? Thanks!”–Marcia

What does a freelance writer need to do? Here’s my list of the essentials:

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How I Got My First $10,000 Freelance Writing Gig

Happy woman with laptopLike most new freelancers, one of my first questions after deciding to take the plunge into freelance writing was, “How am I going to find gigs?”

I knew I wanted to write for businesses rather than publications, but which businesses should I target? I looked at my experience and selected an industry where I had work experience and that tended to have healthy cash flow. Education — particularly English as a Second Language — was my strongest potential market.

As I began marketing to companies in this niche, I narrowed my strategy to four simple steps that brought me something I’d never imagined I’d get in my first year in business: a $10,000 freelance writing gig.

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The Best Way for Storytellers to Earn Well as Freelance Writers

great storytellerYou have a real knack for telling a tale.

Maybe you’re working on that novel. Or you’re the type that can sit around a campfire and spin a fascinating yarn right out of your head, to entertain your kids.

You may be wondering if there’s a way to make this skill pay — reliably, and well. And not just if you happen to hit the bestselling-novelist jackpot one day.

As it happens, there is. Freelance writers can make nice money telling stories — if you pick the right types of projects and the right types of clients.

Personally, I didn’t start out thinking of myself as a particularly strong storyteller. But I ended up falling in love with the form, as I discovered how useful stories can be when it comes to business writing.

Business may seem boring on the surface, but underneath, it’s drama like you wouldn’t believe — and you earn well from telling those stories.

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3 Tip-Offs That Your Dream Writing Job Will Really be a Nightmare

businessman with question maskRecently, I had an interview for what seemed like a dream writing job.

It was in a field I love. The work was right up my alley. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was in a slow period of assignments and getting concerned about cash flow.

After a successful meeting with a mid-level manager, I met with the head of the company.

It was ghastly.

Not only did she slash the hourly rate previously quoted to me, but she was rude. She also made several disparaging comments about my former profession. (I’m a licensed attorney.)

After I weighed the pros and cons of taking the gig, I decided it was a ‘no.’ It was scary to walk away from additional income, but my instincts told me it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Turns out, I made the right decision. A couple of weeks later, I landed a job through idealist.org with a legal nonprofit that needed a writer to blog, produce web content, and write grant proposals. After meeting with their very friendly director, I accepted a long-term, $3,000-a-month gig.

How can you tell if a writing job is a good fit, or has all the makings of a hair-pulling nightmare? Here are the three questions I ask:

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